Friday, December 26, 2008

Days of Mercy, Grace and Peace....

Well, it's December 26th...Merry Christmas. Late. I've been meaning to blog but due to the excessively crazy holiday...yet, striving to remain "Christ"-mas in the season, something had to give besides my last nerve! WHEW....

I've been thinking on some things and I just want to share one thing. I hear the collective, "Ya, right, just one" :) That's OK.

John 3:16,17- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

We are all very familiar with these verses, sometimes I find myself, too familiar. God did not send Jesus to judge the world. I've been struck by what that looked like, 2000-ish years ago. Mary, full-term and in the agonizing labor...desperately alone, naive, terrified. Face it, my sisters, she did not have an epidural or a wonderful labor coach with cool cloths!

Jesus was born. YHWH- God Himself...fully God and fully man, the Word became flesh. He entered this world like any other baby does; with pain, blood, water...relief. He came not to judge. If He had come to judge, the world would have ceased to exist by the sheer presence of His Holiness. He came not to judge but to save.

We live in an unprecedented time, we live in a time of great mercy, grace and peace. We live because He came not to judge. The days are relatively few,as I am becoming more and more aware of. He will come again- this time He will judge. Where is our focus the other 364 days of the year? Christ needs to be our focus of everyday...the mercy, grace and peace He offers needs to be the focus of all our days- until we see Him face to face.

Let the reality of what that looked like...God NOT judging-at Christ's birth, sit upon your heart. Let the reality of His coming not to judge but to offer Salvation, Mercy, Grace and Peace rest upon you soul. Merry Christmas...and Peace on Earth- the real peace that every soul is longing for. Jesus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Gas Gauge...

Well, we just paid off our van! WHOO HOO!! This is a big deal for us and very exciting too. Of course, John and I have been joking every time we are together in the van..."She doesn't sound so good." One of us responds, "Shhh, don't say that too loud. The van is listening. She is going to break down as soon as she is paid off." We laugh together often, it's like she (yes, the van is a she) knows she is almost fully ours! Windows are not working properly, one door has had trouble and so on. You get the point. No big deal, but very funny.

The latest thing to go is the gas gauge. It always shows at a full tank...well at least most of the time. That's how I realized that it wasn't working. It was full, full, full and then full and then right at empty. Made it to the gas station and I had .2 of a gallon left of my 24 gallon tank. Close call. Please tell me you can already see my problem...I'm a busy woman who admittedly doesn't pay much attention to car details, SO this gas gauge thingy, it could be a real issue for me! The amount of gas left...after driving say a week, is "unclear" to me so I just keep driving until I realize...Hello! I need to get gas. I do not want to run out! Then I think to will be all right and I drive a little longer. :) Still haven't run out of gas...YET! I never realized how much I appreciated the gas gauge and the low fuel light!

I do have a point. It's the holidays...a busy,busy time of year. How is your spiritual gas gauge? Are you like me, driving-driving-driving. Assuming you'll have enough "gas" to get you through? Make sure you take some time to "fill up" with the Word, with worship and just with Jesus- in this His Season. I'm guilty of doing the same thing to the Lord that I do to my car. I'm off to "fill up"now , how about you?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A pile of rubble...

I saw a huge pile of rubble tonight...this particular pile was 20 years of memories and 15 years of lots of my hard work. I saw a pile of rubble of what use to be the building of our family owned business, a business that I was a part of for 15 years. It is all I have ever known in my adult-working life.

I turned the corner on my way to my parents house and it was just gone. My folks sold the building 2 years ago and the door of my professional life (in that business) closed 3 years ago...but I had a reminder every time I went home to my parents, I drove past the place and now it is gone. Tonight, I had tears in my eyes and memories flooded my mind. A very significant chapter in my life closed with that business and now the only tangible reminder of that season of my life is gone- it is now, a pile of rubble.

I loved the 15 years of business I was in. I learned a lot about my industry,business, people...I learned a lot about life. I wouldn't change those years but I also wouldn't go back, it was time to close the doors of the business. Those years molded me and my days there prepared me for what I'm doing now. I wouldn't change how things happened but change can be difficult. I spent 15 years building a business...pouring into it and do you know what is left? A literal pile of rubble. It is a very sobering thought.

I'm no longer pouring into a business but it is an important question to ask ourselves...what are we pouring into and what will be left when it is gone? Will it be a pile of rubble? Am I pouring into a house? Am I pouring into a ministry or church program? Am I pouring into my success or my possessions? Or am I pouring into people? Into Kingdom Purposes? All I have left of the Fringe (that was the name of our family business) is the memories and the relationships. Those are all that is left.

What are you spending your life on? What are you pouring into? Spend a little time in Hebrews 12...there is only one thing that will not be left in a pile of is the unshakable Kingdom of God. There are so few things that are eternal. People and God's Purposes and His Word.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The conversation...

Here's how the conversation went...

Mandi/Mom, "Ummm....who moved this?"

Maggie, "Tommy did it."

Tommy-from the other room, "I did what?"

Maggie, "None of your business."

Does that strike anyone else as funny? OK, I'm have to admit it. I might sound just like this exchange sometimes. Blame-shifting and avoidance. Her objective? To fly under the radar. I'm positive Maggie moved it.

This small and very funny exchange reminds me of often do I do the same kind of thing to people, situations, and even the Lord. OK...I'm a big girl, I don't do it out loud...I do it in my head and that doesn't mean I'm nuts-o! My objective? Get the spiritual spotlight on to someone else...and then tell myself not to worry about it.

Blame-shift, avoid and try to fly under the Holy Spirit's radar. I guess I can be kind of like a spiritual 6 year old...and in a child of the King, it's really not funny or cute. I'm grateful I'm starting to see it. I'm grateful that the Lord will not allow me to "fly under the radar". In reality, with Him, there is no "under the radar"! He sees it all and He is in the business of transforming His Own. Love you all.....

Monday, November 24, 2008

To tolerate....

Do you ever feel like you just tolerate things? You know, the next task, job, commitment or maybe a person you just tolerate? To tolerate, it's a very draining way to live. has one definition for Tolerate:
to put up with something or somebody unpleasant; "I cannot bear his constant criticism"; "The new secretary had to endure a lot of unprofessional remarks"; "he learned to tolerate the heat"; "She stuck out two years in a miserable marriage"

I'll be honest, sometimes it just seems like I tolerate a lot of things and people in my day. Here's the thing, I don't want to just be tolerated. When I wake up in the morning, that is not on the top of any one's list; "I hope the world and my friends and family just put up with me. I hope that I am just tolerated today!" How horrible! Yet, that is what I do with certain people in my life, (Can you tell I'm being convicted out this!?) I simply tolerate them...they drive me crazy or annoy me or whatever and I simply tolerate them and the holiday's are sometimes the worst time of year to do this. Are you hearing me?

Well, as I struggle with this and as we come into this week...I don't want to have the attitude of just "putting up with", I don't want to just tolerate. I want to see with my Master's eyes and do you know how He sees you? And me? Not with the eyes of one Who just "puts up with" us! Let that sink you ever feel like God is just tolerating you? He is not...He has gone to radically great lengths to have a personal intimate relationship with you. He loves you. He's not disgusted and putting up with all the unpleasant things about you...He's in the business of changing you from the inside out, by the power of the Holy Spirit because of the finished work of the Cross of Jesus.

He is wild about you and more than excited about the work that He is doing. Now here is where the rubber meets the road for me, Am I going to look at all those people who I tolerate with my eyes or His? He is not done in them either... and I am called to be His Hands and His Feet. Love you my sisters...

Friday, November 21, 2008

I am not God...

I am not God....I know, I know no shocker there but I had another "moment" this morning as a funny reminder of just how true that is. I am a thinker and I have been wrestling with a particular doctrinal issue lately and being who I am, a lot of times I think while I multitask...and being who I am, I am usually in some kind of hurry as I do my task.

Case in point, while getting ready this morning sitting in front of the mirror I put on my mascara and grabbed the blow dryer with my left hand and the body splash with the right hand. Here's the picture:

1.Thinking deeply about this doctrinal issue and trying to wrap my brain around it.

2.Drying my hair with my left hand.

3.Spraying body splash with my right hand...right into my eyes which of course had mascara that hadn't dried yet.

4.Frantically blinking to get the body splash out, I then had huge eyelash marks all underneath my eyes- did I mention while pondering the deep issues of doctrine?

HELLO, I am SO not God- but I did look very funny! I can't even multitask and put on my makeup for crying out loud. If you see me today, I may still have some raccoon eyes, that is why!

Point of the day, God is God and He is totally able to multitask and take care of "doctrine" and He is certainly not in a rush. Actually, I don't think God has "doctrine"...He just is and He is completely OK with that. He's certainly not thrown off the throne with my need to know. So, I'm learning to rest in Him and in the fact that He is in control. I'm learning that it is OK, if I just don't know...I can rest in the fact that He is known. The question is; Am I knowing HIM more, not just knowing doctrine? He desires to be known and He has made a way...that is eternal life. John 17:3

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shocker...2 hr. delay.

Well, the morning, we had the first of many snow-related 2 hr. delays for school. Shocker. The snow has hit and it's only November 18th! Here's the deal with 2 hr. delays, you wake up and don't know what you are going to get and then it's only a 2 hour setback. Simply put, it messes with my day. It throws me off. It messes with my mind, it messes with my plans. 2 hours delays.

Does life ever seem like it has its share of 2 hour delays to you? Or does it sometimes seem like God is just in a unexpected delay pattern, due to some sort of "weather" situations? Does life ever mess with you and leave you out of sorts, with plans delayed? Praise the Lord, He is not like the school board! (Hey now, I'm not trying to be mean to the school board!) I'm reminded of this Truth. God is always on time. There are no delays from His Perspective. My perspective says..."Why the 2-hour (or 2 day, 2 month, how about 2 get it) delay? Why is this? The 'weather' doesn't seem so bad. Why does it seem like the Lord is waiting...delaying?" Maybe I do treat the Lord like the school board!?

Isaiah 26:3,4 says, "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. "

So, as I'm experiencing my "2 hour delays" from the Lord I can have peace, as I trust Him. He is on time. He is unmovable, even in our "weather". He is the Rock. He's not messing with my mind or my life. Wow. Whole new perspective on those delays and maybe I should stop judging Him like I do the school board? He sees all the roads and what is safe...He knows what He's doing and what He is "delaying" and it is not His Purposes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Log in my eye.....

Well, I clearly had a "Mandi Moment" today. It seems I'm having trouble thinking clearly and it is not because of my hair color. As I drove home from Valpo I was multi-tasking, by catching up with my mom on my cell (that is a total other issue, I know). Anyway, got home and went inside...did a load of dishes, load of laundry, checked my email and even spent a few minutes "on the couch" with John. We decided we needed milk and bread (didn't have a thing available for lunch, again, a whole other issue), I asked him to ride with me to CVS. Had some "extra" bucks...lunch would practically be free and we could have some time together. A CVS date. :)

Anyway...I went on a search for my car keys. Shocker, they were no where to be found. No, I didn't have them in my I grabbed John's keys and we headed to the car. Well...the car was open and totally running, in the middle of the street. Found my keys. I burst out laughing...and so did John. I seriously am losing it. I had spent at least a half an hour inside doing stuff as the running car sat open in front of the house in the middle of town. What a blond! Maybe it is because of my hair color!

Here's the thing, I laughed. John laughed. It was dumb and a total mistake but do you know what? Had John done that...I would have reacted totally differently. Honestly, I would have been totally mad. My mind would have gone in a hundred different directions from someone stealing the car to the car blowing up from over-heating! No matter, I wouldn't have laughed if it was John. That is just the truth of it.

Today's events make me pause and think, how do I react to the "speck" in other people's eyes, when a huge log is hanging out of my own? I made a mistake and had a "blond" moment today. But honestly, sometimes I can have real trouble cutting other people slack when they do dumb things-things that have nothing to do with silly things like car keys, but things like keeping a commitment or an off-handed remark. Things we all tend to judge people on.

Grace is an amazing thing. John cut me a lot of grace, I cut myself a lot of grace. Taking the time to look at the circumstances around a situation does amazing things. Cutting people the same break I so desperately need does amazing things. Face it, so many of our moments, spiritually speaking, are "blond" moments and we all need a ton of grace constantly! Lesson for the day...get the log out, and cut some grace, before I react to someones speck.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Vote for Change....

Well, millions of people showed up at the poles on Tuesday to "vote for change" and a change in our government, there will be. No matter what your personal political views are, it doesn't matter to me, I don't want to talk about politics but I would just like to share an observation and then a conviction that I experienced this week, because of the "vote for change."

As I woke up on Wednesday morning to the overwhelming "vote for change", I was hit like a ton of bricks...Americans have voted, they have spoken and this American culture says, "Status quo will not do, we want change." My sisters, we live in a culture that is crying out and voting for...CHANGE.

Here's a thing, you and I know but we tend to forget. True Change can only happen when the human heart is changed by a personal relationship with Jesus. HE is the True Agent for lasting change. Presidents can't give true change (any of them), Politics can't, Government can't, Churches can't, and programs,with or without Jesus' name attached, can't change people. Only Jesus can, though His finished work on the Cross and the Power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. He changes people. Does the Church in America look like that?

What hit me and convicted me to the core is...People are desperately looking and seeking change and many, if not most (many church-goers included), don't have a clue that Christ is the answer. Do you see what kind of opportunity that this is? The fields are ripe for the harvest...this is a huge opportunity for the Church (not for the buildings and the programs), but for the Body of Believers to answer the call for change. Christ is the answer. The world is not satisfied with status quo, and the church is responsible for what they have been "selling"...the status quo brand of Christianity that looks like just another option, like another brand of another religion. Please hear my heart, I'm not talking about the words we use, I'm talking about the results in our lives. The gospel of Jesus Christ works, it changes people from the inside out! The real question is; does it look like it, in your life and mine?

This is a strategic time and place in history, and I don't want to be a part of the status quo...I want to display the grace and power of True Change. "Christ in me, the hope of Glory", pointing the many who are seeking temporary change, in my little sphere, to the Real Source of the change they seek. I believe this is a wake up call to the Body of Christ. A call for our lives to display the change that the Gospel makes in a life.

Can we look back and see that the Lord has and is changing us? Is the Gospel not only proclaimed in our words but in our lives? Not perfectly but Jesus changing us? Americans want change. I believe we need to confess and repent, personally for the lack of change in our lives, the lack of love and power...not lack of love for the issues but lack of love for Christ. Not point the finger at who and what...but in humility, raising our empty hands up, asking the Lord to change us, so that the world...those who seek change will see it, in us and as they see us...they would see Change-which is Jesus.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On the Lip....

Have you ever noticed that the lip is a very sensitive place? Yesterday I started what I thought was a cold sore on my lip, man it hurts! I started to apply some medicine and went to bed. So this morning...the pain has increased, not the size just the pain. Looking in the really is small. Actually, I don't think it is a cold sore after all, just a zit. Small, yet it feels like the size of a baseball...right on the lip! Goes to show you how big things come in small packages and they are not always "good" things!

So often the pain in our hearts can be the same way, something or someone hurts us and it's really not that big of a thing, but the pain? Feels like it's been inflicted by a baseball bat! Have you taken "one on the lip" this week? Is there a pain that shouldn't be "that bad" but it is? A pain when you look in the "mirror" it seems small or even different yet, you can't get past the pain? Do I have a point? Yes, I do.

I think it is very important to acknowledge our pain for what it is and acknowledge that some places in our lives are more sensitive than others. I also think it is so important not to diminish the fact that if something seems so small yet hurts so badly...that the Lord may have allowed a sensitive place to be "wounded" so that it may heal.

I have been in Hebrews 12 for quite some time, it is a great passage! I can get really messed up on what the "discipline" of the Lord looks like- at the root of one of the Greek words used here it means- "the sum total of child-rearing" and we learn that discipline-training heals. Catch that...the Lord trains/grows us up/disciplines to heal.

Hebrews 12:11-13 "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet those who have been trained by it, afterwards it (discipline/training up) yields peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, BUT rather be healed."

Have you taken one the the lip and it really hurts? Know that the Lord is doing good things...acknowledge the pain and rest in Him. He is working. He is growing you up. I'm almost 40 and still getting zits! They are painful, especially on the lip! We will never be "fully-grown" until we see Him face to face. Don't get so weary that you give up...know that the pain heals.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On that day...scattered

I just had Bible Study this morning and we were in Acts 8. If you don't know the history, check it out. Stephen has just been martyred (in Acts 7) and "on that day" a great persecution started in Jerusalem and the believers were scattered. Everything changed that day for the average Jewish Christian-they were torn from their safe and comfortable life, whatever that may have looked like and scattered. My first response? How horrible! How would you have responded? Me? I think I would have responded in total panic and fear...scattered to who knows where and then my tendency would have been to close myself into my "new" home and be silent, questioning God. "Where are you in this?"

What was the Lord doing? He was literally scattering His Church to fulfill His Great Commission (Acts 1:8). What was the tool? Persecution. What was the reason? The gospel going into all the world. The gospel was to be "scattered" and that happened by means of the believers being literally scattered, because of persecution. What does the Lord use in our lives to accomplish His Purposes? Sometimes...troubles, trials, sometimes scattering. How will we respond? Panic and fear? Or faith and boldness? Check out Philip in Acts 8. What an example of a man filled with faith not fear. What an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ infusing life into the scattering experiences.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

$ spare!

I just have to give a word of testimony of how Great and Big our God is...even in the small things. Our family is a ministry family, my husband is in full-time paid ministry and I...well, I do ministry and the Lord has made it VERY clear that I am just to "do" ministry and He will see that I'm "paid". He provides every month but I'll admit it is not an easy way to live.

I have to share with you, this month we were $96.25 short of making our bills. There you have it, that is the black and white of it. I got up this morning first thing, before I even spent any quiet time with the Lord, and immediately checked our bank account, online. I was trying not to be stressed but we needed the money by tomorrow and know. :)

Anyway, I did the math twice, three Maggie to school, went to the bank with one deposit and then the store for our groceries (which was paid for, with a "love-gift" from one of my classes! See the Lord providing!?) came back home and did the math again...just checking for any spare money, sure enough $96.25 short.

I wish I could tell you that I got on my knees with a wash of sunlight pouring down upon me and, instead I sighed, got up and went to the mail box. There was a $100.00 check in the mail. Now, you have to understand...I really am not that surprised. I could tell you story upon story of how the Lord has and does provide for us BUT isn't that just amazing?!? I'm learning to share with others what He does! He Provides.

$3.75 to's the thing, I have a dinner appointment tonight at Wendy's with one of my Bible Study girls, $3.75 isn't just a little extra, it is just perfect, they have a great $1 menu!

"Thank you Lord, for all You do in Your sheer Amazing Grace. We don't deserve it...I'm overwhelmed. I'm humbled. Thank you. Praise Your Mighty Name. YOU are enough"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where are you looking?

Where are you looking, these days? There is a lot going on in our world, nation and I dare say...there is a lot going on in most of our lives. This week alone I have heard of at least 6 very serious life changing illnesses, 3 ugly and huge family dramas, and a host of other messed up things. So where do we look?

I've been thinking about 2 phrases which compose actually philosophies of dealing with life and issues; "the grass is always greener" mentality or the "someone always has it worse" mentality. Do those mentalities really work? Where do these philosophies really point? Is the grass truly greener or is it the perpetual crisis of "fence hopping" to get to the never-ending, ever greener pastures? Does the fact that some one does always have it worse than me really solve the heaviness of heart and give me hope?

Tonight, as I think on this, I am reminded...Jesus is the Great Shepherd who knows where the grass is most plentiful..there really is no greener pasture and no matter how much worse another sheep seems to be, Jesus is the only One Who is the Shepherding Healer, the True Caretaker.

Where do I need to look these days and every day until I go home? To Jesus and to Him Alone! Where are you looking? Where do you tend to look? Do you tend to look at another pasture or at another sheep? Me too, keep looking at Him.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seeds...into Flowers.

Maggie got some seeds somewhere...I can't remember exactly when or where. I'm not very good at the whole garden/planting thing, but I do enjoy looking at the flowers. I'm just not very good at growing anything but weeds!

So back in the summer, Maggie "planted" some seeds. Literally, she threw them on a dirt patch by the front of our porch. Well, low and October zinnias are growing. Those seeds, without any care on our part, they grew and we actually have a producing zinnia plant. It's amazing.

I can't help but smile and be amazed at the same time, every time I pass the plant. It looks really random and definitely out of place, but the plant really is beautiful. Just when I think all the blossoms are done, another pops up. Wow, it's amazing.

I'm reminded of just how many things in my life may seem random or out of place to some seeds seem to be scattered carelessly but really are growing into something beautiful. I'm reminded that the Lord is not careless or seemingly uninvolved (like I am with my gardening ability!), He is tending, sowing, weeding, watering, growing...pruning.

So many times, I can get sidetracked by what I perceive as lack of growth. When in reality there are beautiful blossoming plants and all kinds of seeds growing in various stages and places. I need to take the time to notice, smile and be amazed by what the Master Gardener is doing in the garden of my life, in an unlikely season and unlikely place. Sit back and look at your matter what it may look like to you, He is gardening in this season.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rolling through the stop signs....

My first born child is driving and in a very short amount of time, he is going to be taking his driving test. AHHH!!! Wouldn't you know it, our insurance company has a policy in place where he can receive a "discount" if he finishes a program of logging his drive time AND of all things, critiquing another driver. It should be no surprise that the driver most often critiqued in this scenario...would be, me.

Excuse me, I've been driving for 20+ years...I would really rather not have my 16 yr-old critique me! I must say, in addition to my heart failure at the fact that I am old enough to have a licenced driver, I am also greatly offended and I dare say, unfortunately convicted of the fact that all of my driving experience has produced a bit... of how shall I say it....arrogance and laziness. It has been brought to my attention a number of times that I have a tendency to roll through the stop signs.

Here's the thing, I tend to roll through those familiar stop signs due to the fact that I know what I'm looking for (other cars coming- thus the arrogance) and they are the same stop signs day in and day out (I really don't get out much, I stay on the same routes-thus the laziness). Hump. Now that Peter has done, or shall I say, is doing all that critiquing I've really had to recognize this as a real part of my "skilled" driving pattern. I don't even think about often, I just roll right through.

Translate that to the spiritual realm for a minute. How many times do I tend to just "roll right through" God's stop signs. When He says...wait, stop, look, watch. When He says things like...stop, "the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" or "be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger". Hump again. My tendency can be to just roll right through with those same issues with arrogance and laziness. "I already know what to expect, Lord." Or, "I've done this a million times, Lord." So often, I'll just keep rolling on through. What am I teaching my kids? Both physical and spiritual? Wow, who knew I could be convicted over driving? Keep your eyes open, yes for the real stop signs but also for God's Stop signs. Don't just keep on rolling through.

Friday, October 3, 2008


"Squirrel!!!! " Have you ever seen the movie,"Christmas Vacation"? You know, the Chevy Chase movie (the TV version is pretty cleaned-up and a Christmas-time favorite of mine.)...anyway, everything goes wrong at Christmas and in a fit of sheer frustration Chevy cuts down a tree from his front yard and puts it in the living room where...A guest sees a live squirrel in the tree and yells, "Squirrel!!!" Everyone panics, it a ends up jumping out and landing on Chevy's back...he runs all over the house,with the squirrel attached. I'm embarrassed to admit but I laugh until I almost cry at that scene- at how absurd and hilarious it is every single time I see it. So...this week I had my one and only (at least I hope) chance to yell, "Squirrel!!!! "

Wednesday morning 1a.m. I awoke to the sound of scratching, got up and looked behind my dresser,at the source of the scratching...yes, it was a squirrel. All I could yell was, "JOHN!!!!!" at the top of my lungs! Man, what a missed opportunity! Anyway, what could we do at 1 in the morning? Not much, after it ran over my foot and into the closet...well, I slept on the couch and John... he stuck it out in the bedroom. So I had a squirrel in my closet.

You must understand I live in a close to 100 year old home with not much storage space besides the basement and yes, you guessed it, the closet. I have been meaning to clean the closet in my bedroom for the last...well, you can imagine. After my lovely experience on Wednesday, I figured there was no better time than now and frankly, a squirrel just isn't acceptable in the closet. So,I went to know the saying, "it has to get worse before it gets better?" Well, that is very true in the Cornett closet. It was horrible.

After 6 bags of goodwill and 4 bags of garbage (give me a break, it is a big closet!) Still no squirrel. I know that is a good thing. I figured out he came in the window and then must have least that makes me feel better. :) Here is my point, yes I have one.

The squirrel was the catalyst to fix a long-term problem that needed fixing...the closet. I've put that off, longer than I want to admit. Isn't that so true of how our lives so often look spiritually? You see, I got pretty good at ignoring the problem of the closet because I just keep the doors shut! Until the squirrel ran in...then I COULDN'T ignore it any longer...sometimes the Lord allows squirrels to "run into the closet" of our lives...places we have gotten rather comfortable keeping shut off and closed. While the Lord, He wants to clean it out and up...make it truly usable space. Get it?

I'm getting smacked right now, in my life... with yes, my real closet but also some heart issues that are requiring cleaning up, and I want to just shut the door...thus the spiritual squirrel. Praise the Lord for your squirrel...maybe they are suppose to get in so that He can do the cleaning? Trust Him. Whatever your hidden mess, it isn't too messy and overwhelming for Him. He wants and designs to make every area of our lives usuable...for Him and His purposes. Do the squirrel's freak us out? Duh! Ya....BUT He can take care and use it all!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Loving fall....

I just love fall. The cooling temps, the turning leaves, the pumpkins and gourds. Love it. It's a beautiful time of year. Fall is definitely here...or at least coming. Today as I saw the leaves gathering a thought just kinda hit me.

Fall is so beautiful and yet, fall is a time of death. A season of dying and a season of preparation. The fall leaves were once attached and alive on the and full of life, until they dried and blew/fell off- at the proper time. Now, there purpose is complete. What kinds of things dry up and fall off my life? What is in a season of death, in your life? What is blowing away? Dead and gone, and yet the Lord wants you to see it as beautiful? What in your life is like fall?

I'm thinking of quite a few things...expectations, attitudes, trials, friendships, thought patterns, emotional baggage and so much more. Some things I wish wouldn't die...other things I can't wait to get rid of. If we think about it, so often, life is a time of dying and preparation and He sees it all as beautiful...the question is do I? Or do I just mourn over it? Or get overwhelmed by the mess of the "leaves" I look up and see the beauty? Do I see that this is just a season?

I need to be reminded that God is working and He is on time. I need to be reminded that the "dead" leaves in my life need to fall prepare me, for Winter and for Spring. I need to be reminded that the mess of Fall and the leaves are beautiful...because He is Beautiful and I am His.

Loving fall....and choosing to see Him in it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What did you see at the Pole?

"See you at the Pole"...if you have no idea what I am talking about let me fill you in...this is a once a year event for kids in the public schools (maybe all schools, not sure) . On the fourth Wednesday of September kids meet at the flagpole all around this country to pray. Wow.

Well, I'm still in my jammies and I have to leave to teach in 30 minutes but I have to tell you, I just got back from seeing what was at the Pole (yes, in the car in my jammies) . What I saw was beautiful and made me cry. I saw probably 6-10 middle school kids at each of the middle schools and I saw what looked to me like at least 100 students at the High School.

Do you know what I saw at the Pole? Part of the next generation of the Church of the living God, which is the pillar and support of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) in their generation...What I saw was so beautiful. What are we investing in this next generation? Love for the lost? Love for the Word? Love for Jesus? Love for righteousness and Truth? A small part of this next generation of what the Body of Christ will look like....some of them were at the Pole.

Off to take a shower...I'll come back to all this later! :) Back now. :) Well the count I heard was...Boston 14, Kesling 12, and Laporte High 137. Wow. Amazing. May these kids all grow up to stand firm on the Truth. May they grow into fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ. May they lead their generation in Truth and Love. Oh...what is this generation following? What am I teaching them? How about you? They are all seeing this generation of the Church....what are they seeing? What I saw at the Pole was a glimpse of what the Lord wants to do in the next generation.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I feel sad.

I just feel sad. Sick and sad because of "drama", sick of the lack of peace and unity in the Body of Christ. Sick of myself and my worry issues. Sick and sad. I could go on and on...I know, you are so thrilled. Why is it just so difficult sometimes? My heart is so heavy, a little sick and yes...sad.

I'm having real trouble looking up and catching a glimpse of the Big Picture of Our God. Why doesn't the gospel of Jesus Christ "look like" it works in so many Christians lives? In my life? Honestly, so often it seems to "look like" just another option..and a not very effective one ,at that. Kinda like the latest diet thing on the market...that may or may not work. Sometimes I feel I/we treat the ministry of the Holy Spirit under this New Covenant just like that...optional and no real guarantee that it works.

Jesus said it works. Spend some time in John 17 today. This is Jesus' "High Priestly" prayer right before He goes to Calvary. He prays for them, He prays for us. He prays for protection. Truth. Unity. Oneness. To be with Him. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is like the "glue" of the Body of Christ. The "glue" that the Body is going to be held with. The Holy Spirit is the common denominator every believer had. It works. He works. It is working...He is accomplishing everything He said He did and will. He is in control. The question for I being Spirit led? My flesh is so strong sometimes, OK most of the time but my old man died at the Cross.

Galatians 2:20 " I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me...I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law than Christ died needlessly."

Righteousness comes thorough the finished work of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. So again, am I being Spirit filled and led? If I was, I wouldn't feel so sick and I would be able to operate in the realm of reality, the reality of Hope- confident expectation. So now I'm repenting and looking at the finished work of the Cross and yeilding to the Spirit Who sealed me.....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just another day...

Just another day. Today is Saturday and it was just another day or was it? I cleaned and tried not to flip out...those would be the words of my 12 year old. " You did a good job, Mom. You didn't flip out today." Man, out of the mouth of babes, huh? So what makes you flip out? Me? Well, messes for one and the lack of help is another.

I just have to say, aren't you so very thankful...that the Lord never looks at anything as a total mess and He never feels lacking for help. First of all, God is not "put off" or "flipped out" by any sort of so-called mess and secondly God never needs help. Wow.

Isaiah 46:9-11 "Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it."

Right now (now it is Sunday), I have a few things in my life that seem to be...or at least potentially seem to be very messy. My instinct is to "flip out". I really, really want to as a matter of fact. And of course, I think He may very well need my help to sort it all out! Obviously He doesn't.

So, wherever you find yourself today. Cleaning a real messy house or trying to clean an emotional or spiritual one...remember Who you belong to. He sees it all and is not "flipped out" and He is Able to do what He has promised...which is to bring great glory to His Name. If you belong to Him, you bear His Name...Praise the Lord.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Redeeming God...

Our God is a God who redeems all things. All things. Do I really believe that? Honestly, it certainly doesn't look like it sometimes and so I struggle. I just love the book of Habakkuk. If you have some time read's short.

Habakkuk was an Old Testament Prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah and he had a conversation with God, we get the privilege of reading it...if you read it just look for the exchange of conversation. They go back and forth.

Habakkuk just can't wrap his mind around the fact that God was raising up a nation for the purpose of destroying His nation, Israel. How could that be? What about me? How is that good? It was going to happen...period. How was Habakkuk going to respond? How do you and I respond when things seem very much like God is not in control or He is at least "asleep at the wheel"?

Habakkuk 2:3,4 "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come,it will not delay. Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith."

What choices do we have? Two. Pride or faith. Pride doesn't always look like we might think, I believe at its root, pride is simply "all about me". It can be pretty, ugly, vain or can look so different for each of us but really our pride is just "all about me".

Faith on the other hand, is all about God. He is Who He says He is. He has done what He has said. He is working. He is good. He is able. He is enough and so much more. So, how do I live when all looks bleak or for crying out loud when all is peachy? How do you choose to live, when God may seem to be distant....He is Redeeming, all things for our good and His Glory. The righteous will live by their faith- faith in Him. How are we walking today? By faith, sight, emotion or all of the above? Yep, me too.

Striving to be found walking by faith....and actively amputating the "all about me" pride(I get pleanty of chances!) .....and looking to Our Redeeming God...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Clean the table...

We have a great porch...we also have a bunch of "porch kids". The porch itself is nothing special but the kids that sit on that porch, they sure are. We live in a very kid-a-fied downtown neighborhood so....we get all kinds of kids. We don't live in a very big town but nonetheless we live near 3 schools and we get a lot of different kinds of kids.

So yesterday Maggie (my 6yr old) was playing outside with some neighborhood girls and well drama broke out. What is up with girls? I have 2 boys and not near as much drama! Anyway, we had some trouble and I had to go out and sit on the porch. We've had problems with 2 girls in particular not getting along and I asked them if they needed to "clean the table"? They looked at me like I had a third are you, I know. Hang with me...I asked them if they were to eat their snacks and dinner and have the table covered with junk, garbage and dishes. Would it be hard to get their books out and do their homework? Of course they answered "yes", so what would you need to do? "Clean the table", they answered.

Ephesians 4:26,27, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."

These girls needed to "clean the table" of anger, bitterness and hurt feelings...guess what, they couldn't even remember why they were mad at each other. Shocker. If I'm not careful to "clean the table" in my own life, relationships can get pretty messy, pretty fast. "Clean the table" so that we don't give the enemy an opportunity....he's out to rob, steal and make us useless and unfruitful for the Kingdom of God...we need to "clean the table" early and often.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hands in your mouth...

I just had two sets of hands in my mouth and numerous drilly thingy's ...yes, I was at the dentist. Sorry, but I have to say...I'd rather been cleaning toilets or a vast number of other things. Yuck and Ouch. As I picked a spot on the wall to stare at and as I bit down on my "bite block" (a very nifty gadget) I thought I should make some time to pray (I have issues and always feel the need to multitask) ...but as my mouth was stretched and pulled and as what seemed like hundreds of other "tools" were used, I just couldn't concentrate. Shocker.

Needless to say, I felt out of control... as Maggie my 6 year old sat in the corner chatting away,it only added to my lack of control...not knowing what was going to come out of her sweet mouth! "My mom yells at me when I don't brush my teeth." That was one thing...and with ALL that was going on in my mouth I couldn't defend, shrug or even smile my way into one little smig of control over the situation.

If you can't tell, I didn't like that experience very much...actually, it reminds me of how many areas of my life I tend to feel like God has "His Hands in my mouth"...working. He does know what He's doing...I just don't like how it feels so often and the lack of control it gives me. Like I have any real control anyway! Honestly sometimes I feel I'd rather do anything else but have Him get "His Hands back in my mouth".

After what seemed like hours (probably 20 minutes) the dentist gently laid her hand on my shoulder and said, "We're almost there, you're doing great." It meant a lot to me, I know I sound like a baby, but how often has the Lord gently laid His Hand on me and said in His Word or quietly in my spirit..."We're getting there're doing great." I need the reminder to let Him do His work...for my good and His glory. He knows what He is doing and He is in complete control!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Whose approval?

I had a break-through today...I realized again, yet another thing that the Lord is asking me to lay down. Approval. I'm a approval-holic....there I've said it. The news that I have this issue is not new but I realized (through the wisdom of my hubby) that I seek approval for the sake of pleasure.

I want the pleasure of approval so I seek to please. Here's the thing, it's never enough. First of all ,the seeking of the approval of others is never enough to make everyone happy and the pleasure of the pay off (of making some of them happy) is never enough- is doesn't satisfy me, I'm dissatisfied with the pay-off. Am I making any sense?

I've been in this cycle...pleasing, approval seeking, dissatisfaction, pleasing, dissatisfaction, approval seeking and so on. Here's the thing...I'm not doing anything wrong, per sea...BUT my focus is all wrong. This is where I'm looking: Approval- others. Pleasure- me.

Approval- Others. I fall into that trap so easily...others can not give me what I am looking for, only He can. Some rulers in Jesus' time struggled with the same thing: John 12:42,43 says," Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."
What were these leaders looking for? Their own pleasure...their standing and the Pharisees could not give them what they were truly look for, approval. The rulers focus was all wrong, just like me.

Pleasure- me. So what is the answers to my approval-holic situation? Answering the question...where is my pleasure found? What pleases me? Is is all about me? This is where the trap lies...and the Truth. Is God's Word true? Do I really believe it? Can my greatest pleasure and need be met in Christ? I want to yell YES, at the top of my lungs but what does my daily life really look like (on the inside, where only me and the Lord see?) Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

Do I really believe He'll give me Himself and that will be enough? That I will be satisfied? That in Him I will find the True Source of pleasure I seek.... Him-approval-pleasure-satisfaction. Where are my eyes, this moment?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Buy For Free.....

Isaiah 55 is one of my favorites Old Testament it sometime, how about right now? Verse 1 says, "Ho, (Hey, my translation) Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost."

Isn't that an interesting thought? Come's for free. Not much in this life is really free. I'm always getting those "free" offers in the mail...there is always a catch. Is there a "catch" with God? Is there a catch here in Isaiah 55?

Verse 2 say, "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance."

What is abundant? The "food" we are to buy for free...and eat abundantly from. It will satisfy. Do you know what that food is? It is the Word of God. It is the Lord...He reveals Himself in His Word and satisfies our hungry souls with His Food and Himself. There is no catch. There is just buy for free. He will be abundantly Enough and He will satisfy. Are you hungry and what are you eating today?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Hate Laundry!

Laundry. I hate it. I don't hate a lot of things in life...I can handle doing the toilets, I can even do the dishes with some gusto, but laundry, I hate. Currently, at this very moment I have a mound (and that is putting it lightly) right beside me....needing to be folded, please don't tell my Mom. As I sit...typing away, the mound seems to grow in my peripheral vision. Laundry.

Life can be kinda like laundry. Problems- big and little, fears- big and little, sin- big and little. You pick, any of these things can mound up and get out of control. Our peripheral vision as well as our straight ahead vision can get pretty blurred with the laundry of life and if left, what a mess.

So, how's your walk with the Lord going...are you doing the "Laundry" with Him or are you letting it get piled up and out of control? Are you overwhelmed? If you're at all like me with my real laundry, at some point I don't even want to try. Why bother? It won't ever be done! If I'm not careful, that kind of attitude can spill on into my spiritual life too.

I love the book of Hebrews,especially how Jesus is explained in His role of Great High Priest. He is above all. He is "greater than" the angels, Moses, the law, any priest, any sacrifice...HE went to the better and greater place and we have access to Him at all times.

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the in the of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Let the Lord do your "laundry" today....don't get overwhelmed, don't try to hide it (I've been known to move the real laundry from room to room or shove it in the closet! Then again, I can try to do that with my spiritual laundry too!)...He knows how to deal with it and finish the job. Draw near to Him, you will find nothing but grace and mercy to help in the time of need and One Who understands your weaknesses... Do your spiritual laundry today. I'm off to do mine...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fairy Tale Endings....

Is there such a thing as a fairy-tale ending? I just finished watching Enchanted...a modern day princess fairy-tale. It got me to thinking. How many of us have hoped and dreamed that there was? How many of us have spent tons of time (or at least a fair amount of time) discontented because our lives have not been so fairy-tale like? Let's be honest, some (maybe quite a few) of our expectations have gone unmet. I sure have...I celebrated 18 years of marriage this week. I love my husband and I really wouldn't trade him for anyone or anything for him but the last 18 years are not what I would call a fairy-tale. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been horrible or anything...just normal.

As a little girl and even into my twenties...I had dreamed that my life would become like a fairy-tale...or at least like "Leave it to Beaver." (yes, I'm dating myself!) But real, grown-up life was not like that. It was and is at times very difficult. Don't get me wrong, life is good and life in Christ is wonderful but somehow living in this world with my very,very strong flesh and constant misplaced expectations...well, real life is complicated. The Lord has redeemed so much of me, my marriage and my husband (he truly is a a wonderful, growing, Godly man) but my point isn't to talk about him and us but about my unrealistic expectations...that have stolen so much from my heart.

Do you ever feel the tearing between the two worlds? This physical life and the Life of the Spirit...the life that the Lord said was suppose to be abundant? What does that "abundant life" of John 10 really look like? Let's connect the dots from a Scriptural standpoint, look for a moment at John 10:1-18 and see its context...the context of sheep, thieves, robbers, other shepherds and a Good Shepherd that was going to lay down His life for His Sheep. By the way, does that sound much like a fairy-tale ending? I don't think so. He is going to take His life up again, but the process of the laying down was not going to be pretty.

Please hear (OK, read) my heart...I'm not trying to blow the whole fairy-tale idea out of the water we ever build our expectations based on those fairy-tales? Honestly, I'm afraid, for me, that is true too. Maybe listening to my fairy-tale hopes is like my listening to the thief and robber...who are out to steal some of that "abundant Life" that is available from my Good Shepherd. Interesting...just me thinking. If I get devoted to the expectations of the "fairy-tale" life...then am I really listening to the Shepherd? Or am I just caught up in the voices of the world's fairy-tales and the thieves are climbing over to rob, steal and kill?

I need to constantly be learning and getting to know the voice of the Shepherd, so that I can follow His voice. Ending in a fairy-tale? No. But result is the "abundant life" and becoming a sheep who knows the Shepherd's voice and follows. By the way, as two sheep...the married ones, individually follow the Shepherd's voice, they will find a peaceful and unified ending. That is what this sheep is slowly finding...but it is only found by me, knowing and listening to the Good Shepherd and not listening to the world's version of the fairy-tale ending.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I think I'm spiritually ADD.

I think I might be spiritually ADD. Here's where I'm going. I have a wonderful child with ADD (Attention Deficient Disorder) ...he has trouble with concentration and focus...most of the time he struggles with completing tasks. If I send him upstairs with more than two tasks, he gets totally sidetracked. He is a wonderful boy, he has such a soft heart. But there is no way around it, his brain is wired differently and he struggles at home and at school. We're working on it (I just had to send him back to school to get a forgotten item) Now, my point is not to tell you all my issues with working with him BUT to see a spiritual parallel in me.

Sometimes, I think that totally looks like me- spiritually and even emotionally. I can be all over the board, can you relate? I can jump from thing to thing...task to task...ministry to ministry...emotion to emotion. I hardly finish a thought and I'm off to another. We're all busy doing our tasks-whether it is loving our husbands and children , working at our jobs or doing a ministry task...and then we're off to another thing. All the time dealing with the emotions of it all. Know what I mean?

In reality that is our lives...we are all so very ADD (all over the place spiritually and sometimes emotionally and we all have difficulty concentrating on the Lord) , so how does the Lord respond to us? I'm telling you right now...better than I respond to Tommy sometimes! I can get so frustrated, so overwhelmed...and just plain annoyed with how he is wired and what is required to help him.(I'm just being honest) Sometimes, I'm what I need to be which is patient, clear, scheduled and specific in my instruction and other times...AHHH.

Isn't is amazing how patient, clear, specific and yes...even scheduled (in His time) our God is ? All the time. Not just on good days. All of His days are Good Days!Psalm 103:13-14 says, " Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust." He knows us...and He is not surprised at our state. Praise His Name! I'm the one who gets stressed out by "my frame", He on the other hand, is totally up for the task...the task of completely transforming me.

Actually, I think we need to recognize just how ADD-like we all are, how much we need His patience, His structure, His guidance...His Supply and His Wisdom to sort out all our thoughts, emotions and tasks. No wonder He only gives us a few things to do at one time! He knows how side-tracked we can get on our way to the first task! Just some food for thought...from one Attention Deficiented (is that a word?) follower of Christ to another.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If you're tired-out... raise your hand!

If you are tired-out... raise your hand!

OK, so I bet all 2 of you are raising your hands. (and 1 of you, is me) But seriously, don't we just get tired-out sometimes? Tired-out from our own busy, busy lives and the lives of other people too. Sometimes I feel like my life is one big stove top and I have all these pots simmering... you know, stir-pour-add-taste and so on. "Put that pot on the back burner for awhile, this one is about to boil over"! AHHHH. Tired-out, at times, that's me.

I'm reminded of the prophet Elijah, he was one worn-out dude. Make some time to check out 1 Kings 18-19 for the whole story. Love this bit of Israel's history. The 10 Northern tribes, Israel, is under King Ahab's rule and things are not going well at all. Ahab is a idol-worshipping king...with a major idol-worshipping wife and the land is undergoing a severe drought. Israel had run straight into more and more idolatry and their King was leading the pack -Did you know, there were no good kings in all of the Northern Kingdom of Israel's existence? None, not one followed the Lord...yet the Lord brought one of the greatest prophet to them. Elijah. Think on that one, would you consider that a good investment? Evidently, our great God did.

Elijah did a lot of things but one of his most famous moments was the fire from heaven...licking up the water all over the alter thing. (if you didn't read the history, you should, 1 Kings 18) Well, that caused quite a stir and even a bit of a revival of sorts with the people...but then Jezebel caught wind of it and she was beyond hopping mad. She told Elijah he was a dead man and he ran. He ran hard, fast and long. Imagine...he had really seen God "show-up" and do some really amazing things, he was on a "mountaintop" like experience...He was directly in the will of God and being used by God and now he was smack dab in the middle of the wilderness- worn out and ready to die.

So, I'm not ready to die (I might be tired out but not at that point!) but I can sure relate to seeing the Lord do great things and even being a small part of some cool things and the "wilderness" spiritually and emotionally, worn out and ready to quit all those things (sometimes motherhood is at the top of the list!) . Can you relate?

Well, an angel ministered to Elijah and he was strengthened to go on to the mountain of the Lord where he would hear from Him. Catch that, he was strengthened in order to go on to meet with the Lord. Interesting. Well, the Lord asked him why he was there and Elijah tells Him straight-up his perspective..."I'm all alone and everyone is against me" (Mandi paraphrase) . Please tell me you can relate to that feeling! The Lord proceeds to "show-up" to him, only He was not in the wind, He was not in the earthquake, He was not in fire. God did not "show-up" as might have been expected...not in the big show. He spoke to Elijah in the "sound of a gentle blowing." That is exactly where the Lord spoke to him. In the quiet. Do we ever slow down long enough to hear the quiet blowing? Are we ever just too tired-out to listen?

Here's the thing...Elijah once again, pours out his concern, "I can't do this anymore...I'm all alone and there is no hope." (Mandi paraphrase) How does the Lord respond? OK, in the first place, make sure you remember the Lord did respond and what does He say? "GO, and return on your way..." Love it! Love it! God tells him to go back to what he was doing! God doesn't change a thing...what He does do is equip him with what he needs to do his job. Do you realize that, if you are a Child of God, you are equipped with exactly what you need? You are not alone...there is hope! God proceeds to tell him that he is not alone...there are others and tells him to appoint a few others to help with his job.

My dear sisters, I hope that encourages you as you get tired-out in this greatly encourages me. We don't get to quit but we can get tired-out...we get to be strengthened so that we can hear from the Lord, He wants to speak to you in His Word...and He will call you to GO but He will equip you and give you exactly what you need. - He'll give you Himself, in the "gentle blowing." Are we listening?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cleanse.Fill.Pour. -What does it mean?

Cleanse. Fill. Pour.

Is it a water purifying system? Is it a method of doing the dishes? Is it? Well...the answer is no. Cleanse. Fill. Pour. is a way of life. Honestly, I believe it is what we as believers in Christ are called to do-daily, hourly or for me sometimes moment by moment.

I just got back from Chicago and I need to cleanse! Here's the thought-we all as parts of the Body of Christ, are all vessels of some sort. Vessels that the Lord has ordained to use (Ephesians 2:10 and 2 Timothy 2:20) What kind of vessels does He want to use? Cleansed. Clean. Holy. Not rocket science but you know what? We live in a "dirty" world...and I'm all flesh and blood. After my tense drive back and forth to O'hare and hours of waiting and roaming in a crazy airport. After a rather crabby security guy, I'm rather stinky...spiritually speaking. Annoyed would be another word. So, what do I do? I need to cleanse.

What I mean is: I need to acknowledge how stinky and sinful I really am. So that I can be clean. Cleansed. Why?...because we are all Pouring. For crying out loud, I'm a mother! What else do we do? Even if you are not a women, we are always pouring out, into something. Well, when we are dirty vessels, no matter what we fill up with...we pour out dirt with the pouring. Get the thought? Cleansing is a really, really important part of the process.

Filling is important too. What is the easiest thing for you to fill with when you are empty? Me? Definitely a good snack! Just kidding, although that may be true on a particularly crazy day (by the way, I did pass up the pretzel store at the airport!) What I do NEED is to be filled up with the Lord, His Spirit, filled with His Word....Filled with faith. So what do you fill with? Are you filled with what comes naturally, things like the stuff of life or busyness or fear? Or do you consider that you need to be filled with Him and His Word? Filled with the Spirit? (Ephesians 5:18)

Finally, the pour. I absolutely love how the Apostle Paul looks at his life of pouring. He poured out to others, yet he understood that his pouring was not about Him. It was about the One Who poured out first. Jesus. Check out Philippians 2:1-17 and connect the thoughts of Paul's exhortation. Verse 17, "but even if I am poured out as a drink offering". The "drink offering" is hardly even mentioned in the Old Testament...if I could simply sum it up, it was almost like a afterthought. (OK, nothing is an afterthought to God but it certainly wasn't a "big" offering) Anyway, Paul likens his service- his pouring out to other people's faith, he calls it a "drink offering" - an afterthought. WOW. That is some kind of perspective...from the Apostle Paul! I think he understood, it wasn't about him. It was all about HIM. Jesus.

Cleanse. Fill. Pour. a way of life for the disciple of Christ. What are you pouring your life into? Me? Honestly, at a good moment...Him and then I'm overwhelmed by life again. But I'm learning the cycle...cleanse early and often with Him and others...fill, not just in morning devotions but all day... and pour. Pour out to Him for His glory, what He has cleansed and filled me up with. It's all about Him and He has a work to do in you and in me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blogging? What is blogging? we are. Blogging. I just made a random comment to my husband John about it and "presto" here I am...blogging. Humph. SO, I'm in agreement...blogging is the way of the present/future. Posting thoughts, ideas, concepts for the whole wide cyber-world to see. So here's the deal, I'm not all that artistic or creative. I'm intentional. If I'm going to blog, there is going to be purpose and substance to it (well, at least what I call substance).

I'm a close to middle aged full-time ministry wife (my husband is full-time with Youth for Christ) and we have 3 children (ranging from 6-16) I currently teach and write women's Bible studies and in my spare time....well, there is no spare time!

I am passionate about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Word of God. I deeply desire to see all people (but especially women) understand what the Bible says and what it means to their lives- to see His Word change them from the inside out...I deeply desire to see the Body of Christ healthy and be a true light in the that the Name of Jesus would be made great and lifted high.

Blogging...oh, by the way, I really like the (...) thing, so I'll use it a lot and I'm slightly dyslexic...So bear with me! The next time I post I'll explain the Cleanse.Fill.Pour. thing- by the way, it is not a water purifying system.